Bob Munson

Recap Of 3/10/2014 14 Board Imp Individual

We played last night on BBO, but to make it quick, we only played 14 boards.  We got done in an hour 15 minutes, so it went really fast.  There was only 1 double digit swing, so I will be looking at a few other hands with not as many IMPs at stake.

With identical bidding up to the 3NT call, Manfred, at the other table, opted to not take the push to game. My partner (Dmitri aka Darkbird) pushed on to the game. The defense was radically different against 2NT (an initial club lead got things going in the main suit for declarer and soon they had 9 tricks for +150). I got a heart lead.

How do I play to arrive at 9 (or 10) tricks? Double dummy, 10 tricks are easy. Single dummy, my objective was 9. I was looking for 2+2+2+3 with the ♣Q onside. It turned out West had all outstanding HCP BUT the ♣Q and, in the fullness of time I only found 8 tricks. Because West has both of the other missing queens, West can be squeezed or endplayed out of both of them as I play off the clubs. Play began with the 10, J, Q ducked. I won the 9 at trick 2 and needed to make a plan. I did consider just leading the ♣K at trick 3 (playing for a singleton Q or else eventually gain a 3rd trick in either diamonds or spades. The simple line of play (hope ♣Q onside) failed as I used my dummy entries to lead up to clubs twice to take the finesse and lost my positions to squeeze/endplay West. I was heading for 10 tricks if I merely gave up on the onside ♣Q and played to give up the ♣Q to my LHO. But if my RHO holds both the ♣A and ♣Q, leading clubs out of my hand gives them the needed 2 entries to run 4 more heart tricks. Yuck! As the cards lie, the run of the clubs results in a progressive squeeze of RHO in all 3 suits. If they abandon hearts, my 5 is established (and another squeeze as I cash the heart). If they abandon spades, my ♠J is established (and another squeeze as I cash the spade). If they abandon diamonds, my whole suit is good. Should I have worked it out? I don’t know, but I didn’t!
Down 1, lose 6 IMPs. This is a 16 IMP swing, since making would have won 10 IMPs. Sorry teammates.

Next up a basic 1NT all pass auction/defense.  At my table, the ♠K was led and an upside down ♠7 was played.  For some reason spades were continued and declarer quickly cashed his 8 tricks.  At the other table shown here, a more effective heart lead started the defense.  And, when in with hearts for the last time, Dmitri made the critical shift to spades rather than endplaying partner with the last heart.  The result was 7 tricks for the defense (-1) vs. 8 for the offense (1 overtrick) at my table.  Win 6 IMPs.  Nice defense by Jerry and Dmitri.

On this board, there was very different bidding at the 2 tables. As you see, at my table, West, holding 19 (using the rule of 20, with 10 HCP and 9 cards in their 2 longest suits) decided they had a 1 bid opener anyway. I overcalled 2, and East decided they had a 2 level free bid (no, they were not playing negative free bids). This had the effect of convincing me that we should sacrifice. Nervous that they had to beat me, they took their spade trick too quickly and the result was down only 1, since I could pitch my losing club on the ♠K. 

At the other table, a slower auction ended in both sides getting too high, since 2 is the EW limit and 3 is the NS limit. But, they were not doubled in 4, so I lost 2 IMPs for my effort since my teammates took their 4 tricks to set 4 1 trick.

At my table Dmitri decided he had a 2♣ overcall…vulnerable! I had to choose between showing my 4 hearts with a negative double and showing my club values with 2NT. I opted for 2NT and pard bid the heart game. I suppose I am worth one more bid, but I wasn’t clear how many extra values were shown by the 4 call (my club strength could be and was worthless – the main value in my hand, for slam, was leading spades to finesse and later ruffing a spade). On the diamond lead (won in dummy), declarer can lead any card at trick 2 and still score 12 tricks. But, it turns out the key to the hand (for 12 tricks) is, sooner or later, to take a first round spade finesse against the ♠J. You can draw trump first, and even play some diamonds first. The sequence of plays is not critical, but you need 2 dummy entries and a first round finesse in spades to make 12 tricks. You also better draw trump before a 2nd spade is played.  In 4, Pard as declarer led a spade to the ♠K and when the ♠Q was later ruffed, he ended with 10 tricks and his contract. Glad I didn’t push on to slam.

Double dummy, this slam is cold. In my opinion, this slam is unmakable, single dummy, as long as there is no E-W bidding. There are no inferences, and the only successful line (1st round spade finesse) hardly parlays all of the opponents holdings that you would want to bring into play in trying for 12 tricks. But, at both tables, West could not keep quiet. A 2♣ overcall at my table not only helped keep us out of slam, but did give some clues that might still land 12 tricks in a heart contract. 

When slam was bid, with spades opened on his right, Cris doubled the slam and led the ♠A at trick 1. Now, similar to our table, 6 is cold as long as a first round finesse is taken in spades (and trumps are drawn before a second spade is played) but 6 was also cold (assuming the first round spade finesse) even without the ♠A lead, but in hindsight it sure seems a lot easier with the A lead. Without the A lead, it is hard to take a first round finesse of the ♠J when you are in 6 missing the ♠A!  I think the better defense is to not double and not lead the ♠A. I think it would be close to impossible to take a first round finesse in spades as your parlay to make 12 tricks in hearts if there had been no double and no ♠A lead. But, considering declarer’s problem (how to make 6 after the ♠A lead?) – What would prompt a defender to lead the ♠A against a doubled slam if they held AJx(x)? Not likely, but when Jerry was playing the hand, he thought LHO was thinking of giving partner a ruff, and then  LHO (Cris) thought better of it after seeing the dummy and shifted to a trump. So the first time declarer plays spades, they must find the winning play of the ♠9. Whether the A is led at trick 1 or not, the first time declarer plays spades, the finesse is the only route to 12 tricks. Jerry didn’t get his 12 tricks, so, with the double, my side picked up +200 to go with +620 for 13 IMPs. We lose 14 IMPs if the doubled slam came home. We gained an IMP on the double, but we don’t even gain that IMP if my partner had won 11 tricks in his 4 contract. This was a double with VERY little to gain and a whole lot to lose.

With a passed hand double holding 5-3 in the unbid suits, Dmitri allowed EW to uncover the spade fit (support double) and the invitational jump to 3♠ was followed by a raise to the cold 4♠ game.  The fit looked like a misfit at my table when the auction was a simple 1-1♠-2-2♠ all pass.  Both East and West could have taken a more aggressive bid, but there was no invite and no game reached, win 6 IMPs for the non-vul game swing.

Here, Jerry was quite successful when he competed unilaterally at the 5 level and bought a rather sparse dummy.  Still the J was incredibly useful to fully establish hearts and the 3rd trump was useful to ruff his good 13th heart in order to lead a diamond up to the K.  So, he only lost the ♣K, AK and A for -2 and -300.  I didn’t like my wasted ♣K (and shortage duplication) opposite the splinter (but the ♣K turned out to be just as valuable as the Q, since I could use the ♣K to pitch my losing heart and make 5 – or the diamonds establish to allow heart discards, so 11 tricks are easy in 5♠).  Anyway, I went with ‘the 5 level belongs to the opponents’, and doubled for +300.  When the save wasn’t found at the other table, my side lost 8 IMPs against 4♠, making 5.  Nice bid Jerry.

This was a reasonably routine auction to a cold 3NT.  I dealt.  1st seat red I like a suit with better texture than this to start with 2.  At the other table, Bob Pastor opened with 2 and the takeout double was understandably passed out.  But, the defense could only score +500 vs. their vulnerable game, so my side lost 4 IMPs.

The auction was quite different at both tables, resulting in different leads and different opportunities for declarer, but the same hopeless 3NT was reached at both tables.  At trick 6, Cris was looking at -2, in spite of getting 4 tricks out of the heart suit, but when he led a club, Jack inexplicably went up with the A catching pard’s Q and the defense was over.  Cris was now slated for 10 tricks.

At my table, declarer was headed for -1 from the beginning.  Jerry led spades and continued spades when he got in with the Q.  That allowed for 2+1+1+1 for -1 which is all we were entitled to.  But when the game made at the other table, win 10 IMPs.


CrisMarch 12th, 2014 at 6:30 am

On 12 I believe pass, rather than double, by North is right at the five-level. Here’s why: Partner has showed a strong hand (leaving a 5s make a possibility) and you do not have a minimum. You easily have a king more than you might have. Even though North doesn’t think the five level is right, it’s not really his decision. What’s most important is to pool your collective information so that the pass out seat can make the best decision.

On 10, the doubled spade slam going down at our table, Jerry pointed out to me that he’d wished he had the spade jack, but Dmitri was more on point noting that there was no way I’d have led the A holding the Jack. I told him I might playing against him, which is only a small exaggeration. My spade Ace was a weak play, but I started with visions of a much larger set based on the possibility that, in a unpracticed partnership and short match, folks might have been bidding a bit optimistically. Or you could just say I was droolingly greedy and not be far off the mark.

On the 3NT hand (#14) where I managed to snake 3NT past Jack he has a pretty good motivation to go up on the club ace – he may be endplayed if I started w both club honors and, perhaps, may be seeking a club entry to dummy if I’m 4333 (although on his spades, so what?). The heart continuation, which were also needed, seemed predicated on an encouraging first round signal, which might not have been the best defensive idea. This hand is a good general inferential counting exercise, which should have resulted in a defeat: A heart was led and trick two was the diamond Jack, ducked. That should have received count by North, showing an even number of diamonds. (Or is Smith employed in which case the diamond spot becomes much more ambiguous – is count in diamonds more important than attitude to hearts?) Anyway, if it’s count, that means I have either 2 (gotta be QJ tight) or 4. If I have 4-c diamonds, then I also have 4-c clubs and probably only have 3 hearts, and thus a doubleton spade. This is consistent w advancer’s 1h bid over the TOX. And it means ducking the clubs is right and that upon winning the club Ace, a spade switch is probably right. Of course ducking will now be curtains for me as either major continuation nails me. Now, if instead I have only two diamonds, I must once again have 4-c clubs, making the duck a wise insurance against embarrassment. The club 8 was (too) tempting a bait, I think.

bobmunsonMarch 12th, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Cris – You are right on 12, a pass is more effective. I don’t know about your 5th diamond, but you do. Your hand was slightly stronger than I expected, but you were dealing with an overcall, not an opener, so you probably should have extra. As an overcall, I certainly have extra values for an overcall. I was simply focused on ‘5 level’ plus club duplication (that you wouldn’t know about). My fault.

On 10, I can’t imagine getting rich in 6HX, and the actual hand is one of the classic about when/why to not double a slam. The other (classic) is when they run to a making contract, but the one they were in was 100% going down.

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